Leah was raised in Rochester, N.Y., and attended Nazareth Academy Catholic Girls School where she excelled in sports. She was named to the all-star basketball team in her junior and senior year and was junior class president. Leah attended Brockport State Teachers College near Rochester and after graduation moved to California.
For three years, Leary taught elementary school in La Puente. For another 15 years, she also taught at Skylark School and Doig Intermediate School in the Garden Grove school district. She was known as an excellent and dedicated educator as she encouraged her students with an accepting, supportive, encouraging and fun-loving attitude.
In 1974 Leary opened the Laguna Gander in Laguna Beach and operated the gift store for 28 years. The Gander was the “go-to store” for cards and gifts at the corner of Glenneyre Street and Forest Avenue. With an entrepreneurial spirit and an eye for the perfect inventory, she stocked something for everyone.
After retirement in 2002, Leary delivered Meals on Wheels, played bridge and poker, was a staunch supporter of the Lakers, an avid football fan, played golf and loved to entertain. She loved beach parties, gardening, and games that she played in a competitive fun spirited way. Known as a risk taker and an adventuresome woman, she was determined, independent, self-sufficient and had a great sense of humor. Her friends loved the twinkle in her eyes, her distinctive laugh, her always-encouraging attitude and big smile.
Leary leaves behind her partner of 34 years, Dixie Jordan, her long-time friend Barbara Miller, family members Linda Bell, Michael Leary, David and Leslie Romanchick, Jon and Laurie Korber, Martin and Mary G. Leary, six nieces, a nephew and many grandnieces and nephews and a wide circle of friends.
Leary would have encouraged you to spend time with your loved ones.